Project category: New construction (completed December 2004)

Chief administrator: Laureen K. Tanner, President and CEO, (314) 872-6401

Firm: 527 Architects, PC, (314) 821-8900

Design team: Steve Hunsicker, Principal Architect; Elizabeth Osterhage, Project Manager; Elizabeth Cockrell, Interiors, Finishes, Furniture (527 Architects, PC); Randy Johnston, Contributing Architect; Cynthia Enloe, Interiors, Finishes, Casework (Lighthouse Architects)

Photography: ©2005 Debbie Franke

Total building area (sq. ft.): 60,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $250

Total construction cost (excluding land): $15,000,000

The new 30-bed, 60,000-square-foot Ranken Jordan Pediatric Rehabilitation Center serves as a national model for specialty pediatric hospitals. It is the first facility in Missouri operating under a new intermediate care reimbursement schedule that saves the state millions of dollars each year.

The focus of the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Rehabilitation Center is to help children recover from their debilitating injuries and illnesses by getting them into the great outdoors. Patients are taken beyond the protective walls where they can explore the spacious grounds. This philosophy of healing led to the design-concept metaphor of an abstract children's-village-like hospital.

Five functional masses were designed to meet the traditional needs of a children's hospital. But the team was convinced of the value of the “in-between” spaces, where the “magic” of Ranken Jordan would occur. This focus led to the creation of the space between the masses as an abstract European village with alleys, streets, a campanile, and a piazza. These elements create the “outside” inside Ranken Jordan. This space grew to more than 10,000 square feet to promote a multidisciplinary care approach involving play, exploration, gathering, and getting well. When children see other children playing, they get up and take steps when they previously couldn't walk. They join in a conversation when they previously couldn't talk. These concepts of healing and development provide a place for children where “being a kid” makes them well.